It is common knowledge that countries are exploring ways of improving ties with other economies, as this helps in enhancing trade relations, increase GDP and perception in global economic ratings.

In other to foster this relationship, delegates are often sent into the country of interest to scout for opportunities and often times sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect. In the light of this, the Commercial Counsellor, Austrian Embassy in Nigeria, Nella Hengstler recently paid a familiarization visit to the Kaduna Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KADCCIMA) to boost business activities. Furthermore, in September 2013, a 25-man delegation of the Austrian business community visited Nigeria to understudy the business environment and seal partnership deals that would enable both countries and businesses to improve trade relations. The team, which comprised people from different sectors of the Austrian economy like textiles, agriculture, energy, construction, financial services and construction industry, met with their Nigerian counterparts under the umbrella of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture. During another visit, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC) disclosed that the volume of trade between Nigeria and Austria has hit $1.4 billion.

Austria is a relatively small country with a population of about eight million and a land mass of 83,871 km² (Advantage Austria, 2012). Though Austria’s size cannot to be compared with Lagos State in terms of population, the country’s GDP stands at Eur300.71 billion as at 2011. In 2004 Austria was the fourth richest country under the European Union, having a per capita income of approximately €27,666, with Luxembourg, Ireland, and Netherlands leading the list. The country has a competitive advantage in infrastructure, energy plants, renewable energy, industrial sectors and many more which Nigeria can benefit from. Currently, Austria’s exports to Nigeria are mainly fabrics and machinery and these increased by about 8.8 per cent in 2012. Importation of crude remains the country’s most important source of income. It is pertinent to note that Austria’s expertise in the sustainable use of natural resources as well as in the development of energy systems of the future - including hydro, wind, solar, biomass and combined heat and power – can be explored by Nigeria to combat our epileptic power supply.

While the opportunities for interrelation between the two countries are limitless, there is a need for investors in both countries to understudy the market in other to determine the areas to invest in. While Nigeria is the new bride for investors across the world due to our huge population, growing middle class and increasing tech savvy populace, Austria is also a good place for investment as it would enable investors access the European market. The country is also open to partnership and joint-venture with the Nigerian economy; this opportunity should be maximized.